iPhone 14 will let you send emergency SOS via satellite but it won’t work in India

iPhone 14 will let you send emergency SOS via satellite but it won’t work in India
  • With iPhone 14 models, users can use Emergency SOS via satellite to text emergency services when they're out of cellular and Wi-Fi networks.
  • Currently, this service is limited to the United States and Canada.
  • We’re still unsure whether the satellite SOS feature will be available in India in the future.
  • Below, check out how Emergency SOS via satellite works.
At its Far Out event, Apple announced the iPhone 14 and 14 Pro models, Apple Watch Series 8, Apple Watch SE, Apple Watch Ultra and the AirPods Pro Gen 2.

Apple has made significant upgrades to the iPhone 14 series, and Emergency SOS via satellite is one of them. The satellite connectivity is intended to help people using the iPhone 14 to communicate when their cell service isn’t available. The Cupertino giant said it has designed and built specific technology into iPhone 14 devices so that users can connect to satellites even when not near a terrestrial tower.

The Emergency SOS service is expected to roll out in November in the USA and Canada. Apple says the feature will not work on iPhone models purchased in mainland China, Hong Kong, or Macao. Since India is not mentioned in the list, it’s likely to be on iPhone 14 purchased in India but disabled. However, it can be used if you travel to the USA or Canada and use the supported carrier. Note that the Emergency SOS via satellite might not work in places above 62° latitude, such as northern parts of Canada and Alaska.

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Business Insider India has reached out to Apple to confirm whether the feature will allow Indian units to enable this feature switched to a supported network in USA or Canada. It seems likely as Apple’s website has explicitly mentioned that it won’t work on iPhone purchased in those particular countries.

For the satellite SOS feature to work, telcos or carriers need to partner with satellite communication providers, just like T-Mobile and SpaceX have partnered for cellphone satellite service.


In India, the general public is legally restricted from using and owning a satellite phone, as it risks national security. This is the biggest reason that the concept of satellite phones never really took off in India. Only rescue teams, sanctioned search teams and defence personnel have the right to use satellite phones in certain situations.

Keeping the current norms in mind, we can expect when Apple brings iPhone 14 series line up to India, they will have to disable the satellite connectivity feature.

Also, if someone manages to purchase an iPhone 14 from the USA, where the feature is unlocked, they will not be able to use the feature in India, as the service providers have not partnered up with satellite communication providers - which is a must to enable this feature.

How does text via satellite work on the iPhone 14 series?

Apple’s iPhone 14 Emergency SOS service is currently limited to the United States and Canada.

During the Far Out event, Jeff Williams, Apple's chief operating officer, said, “Unlike stationary cell towers, communication satellites are hundreds of miles above the Earth and flying at over 15,000 miles per hour. To connect to these satellites, you need to be outside with a clear view of the sky.” He said iPhone 14 series has achieved what seems to be difficult on satellite phones.

The iPhone 14 has a built-in antenna required to communicate with satellites. The phone also has a radar-like feature that will show users where to point their iPhone to link up to a satellite when no cellular or Wi-Fi service is available. Once connected to the satellite, iPhone 14-series phones can send and receive emergency messages. The company has used a short text compression mechanism to condense messages, so that text messages take about 15 seconds to deliver if a user has used emergency SOS service under the clear sky. Otherwise, it may take longer if something like foliage is in the way.

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